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Esa-Pekka Salonen

Publisher: Chester Music

Nyx (2011),
Publisher
Chester Music Ltd
Category
Orchestra
Year Composed
2011
Duration
17 Minutes
Availability
Unavailable Explain this...
Programme Note
Esa-Pekka Salonen Nyx (2011),
Nyx is my return to the genre of pure orchestral music since Helix (2005). It employs a large orchestra, and has exposed concertante parts for solo clarinet and the horn section.
Rather than utilizing the principle of continuous variation of material, as is the case mostly in my recent music, Nyx behaves rather differently. Its themes and ideas essentially keep their properties throughout the piece while the environment surrounding them keeps changing constantly. Mere whispers grow into roar; an intimate line of the solo clarinet becomes a slowly breathing broad melody of tutti strings at the end of the 18-minute arch of Nyx.

I set myself a particular challenge when starting the composition process, something I hadn't done earlier: to write complex counterpoint for almost one hundred musicians playing tutti at full throttle without losing clarity of the different layers and lines; something that Strauss and Mahler so perfectly mastered. Not an easy task, but a fascinating one. I leave it to the listener to judge how well I succeeded.

Nyx is a shadowy figure in Greek mythology. At the very beginning of everything there's a big mass of dark stuff called Chaos, out of which comes Gaia or Ge, the Earth, who gives birth (spontaneously!) to Uranus, the starry heaven, and Pontus, the sea. Nyx (also sometimes known as Nox) is supposed to have been another child of Gaia, along with Erebus. The union of Nyx and Erebus produces Day.

Another version says that Cronos (as Time) was there from the beginning. Chaos came from Time. Nyx was present as a sort of membrane surrounding Chaos, which had Phanes (Light) at its centre. The union of Nyx with Phanes produced Heaven & Earth.

She is an extremely nebulous figure altogether; we have no sense of her character or personality. It is this very quality that has long fascinated me and made me decide to name my new orchestral piece after her.

I’m not trying to describe this mythical goddess in any precise way musically. However, the almost constant flickering and rapid changing of textures and moods as well as a certain elusive character of many musical gestures may well be related to the subject.

I have always enjoyed the unrivalled dynamic range of a large symphony orchestra, but Nyx seems to take a somewhat new direction from my earlier orchestral music: there are many very delicate and light textures, chiaroscuro instead of details bathing in clear direct sunlight. I guess this is symptomatic of growing older as we realize there are no simple truths, no pure blacks and whites but an endless variety of half shades.

Nyx was commissioned by Radio France, the Barbican Centre, Atlanta Symphony, Carnegie Hall and the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE. It had its first performance in Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris, in February 2011 in the final concert of the Festival Présences. The Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France was conducted by the composer.


Esa-Pekka Salonen
1 October, 2011



  • Ensemble
    Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra
    Soloist(s)
    Leila Josefowicz
    Conductor
    Esa-Pekka Salonen
    Deutsche Grammophon:
Performances
Date
Title
  • 02 JUL 2015
    Creative Chair
    Tonhalle, Zurich, Switzerland
    Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra
    Manfred Honeck, conductor

    Other Dates:
    3 July - Tonhalle, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 30 APR 2015
    Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, US
    San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
    Esa Pekka Salonen, conductor

    Other Dates:
    1-3 May - Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, US
  • 17 APR 2015
    Nyx UK Premiere
    Barbican, London
    New York Philharmonic
    Alan Gilbert, conductor
  • 19 MAR 2015
    Avery Fisher Hall, New York
    New York Philharmonic Orchestra
    Alan Gilbert, conductor

    Other Dates:
    20,21 March - Tilles Center, Greenvale
    24 March - Avery Fisher Hall, New York
  • 19 SEP 2014
    Gulbenkian Hall, Lisbon, Portugal
    Gulbenkian Orchestra
    Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor
  • 01 MAY 2014
    Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley, USA
    Berkeley Symphony Orchestra
    Kelley O'Connor, mezzo-soprano; Joana Caneiro, conductor
  • 10 APR 2014
    Symphony Hall, Chicago, USA
    Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor

    Other Dates:
    13,12,11 April - Symphony Hall, Chicago, USA
  • 24 AUG 2013
    Berwaldhallen, Stockholm, Sweden
    Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
    Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor
  • 25 JAN 2013
    Denmark
    Finnish Radio S.O.
    Hannu Lintu, conductor
  • 25 JAN 2013
    Musiikkitalo, Finland
    Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra
    Hannu Lintu, conductor
  • 07 DEC 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Los Angeles Philharmonic
    Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor

    Other Dates:
    8,9 December - Los Angeles, CA
  • 07 DEC 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Los Angeles Philharmonic
    Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor

    Other Dates:
    8,9 December - Los Angeles, CA
  • 07 DEC 2012
    Walt Disney Hall, Los Angeles
    Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
    Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor

    Other Dates:
    8,9 December -
  • 07 JUN 2012
    Nyx Country Premiere
    Munich, Germany
    Symphonieorchester Des Bayerischen Rundfunks
    Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor

    Other Dates:
    8 June - Munich, Germany
    10 June - Konzerthaus Dortmund, Germany
    9 June - Théâtre des Champs-Élysées , Paris, France
  • 07 JUN 2012
    Munich, Germany
    Symphonieorchester Des Bayerischen Rundfunks
    Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor

    Other Dates:
    8 June - Munich, Germany
    10 June - Dortmund, Germany
  • 12 APR 2012
    USA
    Boston Symphony Orchestra

    Other Dates:
    13,14 April - USA
  • 07 APR 2012
    Miami, Florida, US
    New World Symphony Orchestra
    Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor
  • 29 MAR 2012
    Kimmel Centre, Philadelphia
    Philadelphia Orchestra
    Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor

    Other Dates:
    30,31 March - Kimmel Centre, Philadelphia
  • 05 NOV 2011
    Nyx New York Premiere
    Carnegie Hall, New York, NY
    Atlanta Symphony
    Robert Spano, conductor
  • 27 OCT 2011
    Nyx US Premiere
    Atlanta, US
    Atlanta Symphony
    Robert Spano, conductor

    Other Dates:
    29 October - Atlanta, US
    3,4 November - Carnegie Hall, New York
  • 03 OCT 2011
    Atlanta, GA
    Atlanta Symphony
    Robert Spano, conductor

    Other Dates:
    27,29,4 October - Atlanta, GA
  • 19 FEB 2011
    Giro
    L.A. Variations
    D'OM LE VRAI SENS Country Premiere
    Nyx World Premiere
    Presence Festival
    Theatre du Chatelet Paris FRANCE
    Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
    Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor

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